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Klunking Focus transmission/road noise

Why would the transmission on my 2001 Focus wagon be making “klunking” noises when I shift? The sound/action are so pronounced that the car actually jumps forward and up during the shifting process.

There are also (1) vibrations when the car is idling, especially in reverse, and (2)profound road noise.

I had all the motor mounts replaced 6 months ago for this exact same problem, and the problem disappeared until about a month ago. The dealer denies that the problem exists again.

If anyone can give me any advice, I would appreciate it.


I doubt this is the issue, but the first thing you should do is check the transmission fluid. You don’t say if this has an automatic transmission or a manual transmission, but the fact that you say “when I shift” probably means this has a manual transmission. Either way, check your owner’s manual for directions on how to check the transmission fluid and let me know what you find out.

While you are checking your transmission fluid, please also check your records for the last time you had the transmission fluid changed and let me know what you find.

The first thing that comes to mind is engine/transmission mounts.

I take it you had the dealer do the work? I suspect the work was not done under warranty?

I believe I would find a good local independent mechanic. Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

The dealership that did the work has always been straight with me, even if it did actually sell me the car. I haven’t had luck with independent mechanics, in part because I am a single woman, and I have tended to rely on these guys. But this time I can tell that they are just trying to make more money and don’t want to correct their work.

What perplexes me is that something could have gone wrong with the new motor mounts in 6 months or less. The car ran perfectly for about 4 months and then it was suddenly as if the work had never been done. The mechanic who told me they needed to be replaced said that there was a technical bulletin out on the things (he wasn’t one of the service managers, and they were none too happy that he told me about the technical bulletin). Maybe I should ask to see that bulletin–maybe it says something that would help out.

It certainly is a weird situation. But I thank you for your suggestion, and in fact I was going to try a friend’s mechanic–maybe if he spoke to the mechanic, I could get some actual decent help. And maybe if I brought the technical bulletin with me, that would help too.

Thanks again.

I doubt the ‘klunking’ IS coming from motor mounts, given the fact they were recently replaced (providing they were the correct ones and they were tightened to torque specs).

I suspect your problem is tranny related in that the problem comes and goes.

By this I mean there MAY be a worn pressure control solenoid causing a harsh shift.

Contaminated tranny fluid and a partially plugged screen/filter can also give these symptoms.

When was the last tranny fluid/filter/screen replaced/cleaned? A screen is cleaned, not replaced as opposed to replacing the filter.

Thanks very much for all these suggestions.

First I’m going to have the fluid and screen checked out–that’s the cheapest item. I think the guys that do that can check to see if the mounts are correct and correctly tightened.

If none of that works, it is on to the solenoid.

Many thanks again! You may have saved me much grief.

A caution on my suggestion that it MAY be a solenoid fault.

Get TWO separate opinions/inspections done before committing to the repair.

Turns out that my transmission is slipping–bad news for me.